A New Zealand blogger who represented himself at New Zealand's highest court has successfully argued for his home detention to end after being convicted for a series of "hate-filled" posts and harassment of several people, including a former parliamentarian.
Dermot Nottingham, who earlier this year tried to sue Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern over the Covid-19 lockdown, was found guilty of five criminal harassment charges and two breaches of court suppression orders after a jury trial in 2018.
In one instance he sent one of his victims a scene from the Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction, which showed a person being shot in the head. The suppression breaches relate to a high-profile homicide case.
He was later sentenced to 12 months' home detention and 100 hours of community work.
Nottingham unsuccessfully attempted to overturn his convictions in the Court of Appeal, where he accused the former MP of perjury, and also failed in a final bid to quash his convictions at the Supreme Court last year.
By the time his challenge to the Court of Appeal was heard, Nottingham had already served three and a half months of his sentence. But the Solicitor-General's appeal against sentence was allowed, and a new home detention sentence imposed.
Nottingham claimed this was unlawful and appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. A hearing was held in late May.
The argument was whether the Court of Appeal erred when imposing a sentence for Nottingham which would mean that, in total, he would serve 15 and a half months' home detention.
Under the Sentencing Act 2002, the maximum home detention period is 12 months.
Today, the top court released its judgment.
"On our approach, the Court of Appeal did not have jurisdiction to impose more than a further eight and a half months' home detention on Mr Nottingham so as to make a total time served of 12 months' home detention," it ruled.
"Nottingham has served just over 12 months on home detention and has completed, as we understand it, about 60 hours of the 100 hours of community work imposed."
The Supreme Court replaced the term with an eight and a half months' home detention stint starting from July 30, 2019.
"Having served more than 12 months' home detention, Mr Nottingham has served that part of his sentence.
"The remaining period of community work to be served by Mr Nottingham is remitted."
Nottingham also had special conditions which forbid him from using any electronic device capable of accessing the internet without prior approval from a probation officer.
Much of the blog material, the Court of Appeal earlier said, "could at best be described as virulent opinion with only a tangential connection to anything arguably true".
"As the Crown said in closing, the posts were littered with 'hate-filled [invective]' and were strongly misogynistic."
The High Court suppression orders Nottingham breached related to the Stephen Dudley manslaughter case.
In an egregious breach, the blog site identified and published photos of the two teenage defendants - who both have permanent name suppression.
As a result, police began investigating the blog and discovered what the Crown would call "malicious and misogynistic attacks on members of the public".
Nottingham was found guilty of ordering, or himself conducting, the online attacks on business people, civil servants and a former MP. All his victims have been granted permanent name suppression.
Photos were taken of them and their homes, and allegations were published online falsely claiming drug abuse and corruption.
At his sentencing, Nottingham continued to blame his victims and said, "if they had been honest ... none of this would have occurred".
He has also claimed prosecutors lacked the "smoking gun" or "electronic footprint" to prove their case against him.
At trial his trial, he called former Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater to give evidence in his defence.
Nottingham, who has been involved in defamation proceedings, is also seeking a judicial review in the High Court over the legality of the Government's Covid-19 orders.